A group of six monks gave up on a planned hunger strike outside the Chinese Embassy on Saturday morning after a group of about 20 security guards showed up and told them to move their protest to Freedom Park, according to monks and officials.
Ly Channet, an activist monk and fierce government critic, said that the planned hunger strike was meant to bring attention to China’s involvement in the Stung Chhay Areng dam in Koh Kong province, which is being built by Chinese hydropower company Sinohydro and is expected to force some 1,500 villagers off their ancestral lands.
“We do not want an embassy who comes to destroy the forest and mineral reserves,” he said. “So we need to come to the embassy to express our view that we do not let any foreign country do whatever they want.”
Chor Kim Sor, deputy district governor of Chamkar Mon district, said the monks needed permission from City Hall for the protest.
“You can do whatever you want at Freedom Park, it is your right,” he said. “You cannot do whatever you want here.”